The Extent of the Valyrian Empire
Posted 30 November 2012 - 09:40 PM
First of all, there are the lands we know for certain were under Valyrian control: the Valyrian Peninsula itself; all the lands in the Free Cities area; Slaver’s Bay and Ghiscar.
In addition to that, the presence of Valyrian roads that extend east of Qohor makes it safe to assume that the whole region of the former Kingdom of Sarnor was under Valyrian control.
Another speculation pertains to the region south of Sarnor. In the middle the “present day” Dothraki Sea, there’s Vaes Diaf, a city that was originally called Hazdahn No, a name that has a certain Ghiscari ring to it. Assuming that it was once a part of the Ghiscari Empire, it would have passed under Valyrian control along with all Ghiscari possessions. Putting all of this together, the hypothetical eastern frontier of the Valyrian Empire in the Dothraki Sea would run roughly from the Bay of Tusks to the Khyzai Pass.
Beyond that, we enter the realm of pure speculation and guessing.
Let’s start with Lhazar. As far as I can remember, there’s no indication in the books that it ever was a Valyrian possession. However, the Lhazareen lack of martial prowess and proximity to Slaver’s Bay makes it logical to assume that Lhazar would have been one of the first foreign conquests of the Ghiscari Empire. Lhazar would have been absorbed into the Valyrian territories after Old Ghis fell. Under the same logic, the whole valley of the Skahazadhan could also be assumed to be Valyrian territory, which would extend the Freehold’s eastern border all the way to Vaes Efe.
But before we continue, we must make a pause and address the Dothraki situation. We know that the Dothraki didn’t reach the Free Cities region in western Essos until approx. 400 years ago. That means that their original homeland was considerably smaller and centered around the Mother of Mountains and the Womb of the World. The fact that there were cities as close to Vaes Dothrak as Vaes Leisi and Ibbish, as well as a number of kingdoms belonging to the Ifeqevron relatively next door to the heart of the Dothraki homeland means that they were nowhere near as formidable in the days before the Doom, and didn’t become the scourge of the civilized world until the power vacuum produced by Valyria’s destruction created enough chaos to make that possible. I think that the original Dothraki Sea was a rough triangle, with the forests of the Kingdoms of the Ifeqevron on one side, the Bone Mountains on the other, and the third side of the triangle going from somewhere north of Yinishar to the western end of the Ifeqevron’s forests. The Valyrians probably never conquered the ancestors of the Dothraki because a bunch of nomadic barbarians where not worth the effort.
Now, continuing with the speculation, we know that in spite of the terrible conditions, the southern end of the Red Waste was once heavily urbanized, with no less than four full cities in it. The presence of the huge dragon bones that one of Daenerys’ scouts saw south of Vaes Tolorro might be indicative of Valyrian activity in the region. The fact that Vaes Tolorro, Vaes Shirosi and Vaes Orvik seem to have been destroyed by conventional armies and don’t show signs of having been attacked by dragon fire could place their destruction and abandonment post-Doom.
Now we come to the most problematic point of all in my opinion. Did the Valyrians ever conquer Qarth? Was Qarth a subject realm, an ally or a rival? Did the Undying of Qarth possess enough sorcerous might to dissuade Valyria from attacking? Or was it more profitable for the Valyrians to have the Qartheen as willing trading partners rather than subjects? There are too many questions to try to make an adequate supposition. And until we know more about the status of Qarth before the Doom, I don’t believe we can safely speculate if the Valyrians ever expanded east of Qarth into the region of the Jade Sea.
In conclusion, I think that we can conservatively say that the Valyrian Empire extended from the Narrow Sea in the west all the way to the Red Waste in the southeast and as far as the Kingdoms of the Ifeqevron in the northeast.
What do you guys think?
Is there anything that I’ve missed? Or are there any holes in the suppositions that I’ve laid out here?
Posted 01 December 2012 - 12:46 PM
So conservatively, I'd say the Valyria, the Free Cities (excluding Braavos), Slaver's Bay and Ghiscar. Speculatively, the Kingdom of Sarnor and Lhazar as well.
Posted 01 December 2012 - 12:52 PM
We know that the Valyrian Empire was prosperous until the last second before the Doom, the Dothraki would have much to lose attacking some Valyrian outpost, or city.
Posted 01 December 2012 - 02:17 PM
The really interesting question is how and when the Valyrian Freehold expanded itself over the known world. Considering that apparently the Andals, too, left Essos for Westeros due to Valyrian expansion, it's quite likely that the Valyrian first expanded west and later had their wars with Old Ghis. Did they first subjugate the main land, or did they conquer the inland regions from their colonies at the shores? Since the Rhoynar continued to live at Rhoyne long after the Andals had left, my guess is that Valyrians expanded around Essos long before they forced the lands along the Rhoyne under their control. The founding of Myr, Pentos, and Lorath would have put pressure on the Andals, even if the Valyrians did not attack them directly at all.
Relations with the Rhoynar could have remained peaceful and mutual beneficial for both sides over centuries if we assume that Volantis and its client cities got more than their decent share from Rhoynish goods up the stream (and vice versa).
Considering that the Qartheen sorcerers would have been very powerful as well during the times of the Valyrians, my guess is that Qarth was never conquered by the Valyrians. But it's entirely possible that some of the (Qartheen controlled?) cities in the Red Waste and beyond were destroyed not by Dothraki but during wars between Qarth and Valyria. That might especially true for the city of Qolahn which I consider to be part of the ancient Realm of Qarth (just as Qarkash and Qal still might be ruled from Qarth to this day).
As to Lhazar - considering that the Lhazareen seem to be related to the Dothraki, it's possible that the country of Lhazar did not exist pre-Doom and was only populated by the Lhazareen in the wake of the expansion of the Dothraki. The Lhazareen might very well be nothing but Dothraki who settled down.
Posted 02 December 2012 - 12:04 PM
Yi Ti and environs
Valyria might have been in the process of bringing down Qarth in the same way that the Rhoynar civilization was brought low, but then the Doom struck.